When we look at this passage we see that kind of thing happening here. When we finish reading these words—if we are reading them right, we should say, “That’s it?”
What did God say would happen if Adam disobeyed? He would DIE. But when we read this passage, especially in light of what we saw last week where Adam was squirming like a little boy at the doctor’s office, we think, “That’s it?”
God is doing something here that should catch our attention. He is beginning this thing we call the covenant of grace. He is showing that he freely offers unto sinners life and salvation through Christ. And we see stated in at least 4 ways in this passage.
It all begins in verses 14-19 and the curses that are pronounced.
I. His grace is revealed in the curses that are pronounced [14-19]
In verses 14-19 the Lord pronounces his sentences upon the snake, the woman, and the man. Since they have offended God, they have to now meet the consequences of their actions. But as God declares the curses that would befall them, we see—even in these judgments—His immense grace.
A. The snake
Look at how God curses the snake. In verse 14-15 we see that Satan is doomed. God first says that Satan will crawl on his belly and eat the dust of the earth. That’s a picture of defeat. It is like one of us saying, “Satan, you are going down!”
In verse 15 we have what is often called “the proto-evangelium.” That is, the first gospel. God promises that there will be enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan. And Satan will strike his heel, but he will crush Satan’s head. This is the first reference to the coming of the Messiah. It is the first prophetic announcement of Jesus. There would come one who would be born of a woman who would put an end to Satan and the sin and death that he causes.
Already Adam and Eve’s heads would have perked up. “What was that?” Did you say that we were going to have a baby? That’s something they probably were not expecting. God surprises them with a promise of grace and salvation.
B. The woman
The idea is expanded in the next verse. In verse 16 God speaks to the woman and he says that she is going to have pain in child bearing. On top of that her relationship with husband going to have a great deal of discord as she seeks to assert herself over him.
Now, right here I wonder what was going through Eve’s head. God is speaking about the very heart of her life, her children and her husband. Basically these two things encompass the whole of her universe. The home was supposed to be the focal point of her joy and happiness. But God says that this is going to be the epicenter of her sorrow too.
But I can’t help but think of her saying, “That’s wonderful!” she probably turned to Adam and said, “Do you hear that honey! We’re going to be fighting! Isn’t that great! I’m gonna have morning sickness and labor pains, and we are going to have all kinds of trouble raising kids. Woo-hoo!”
I’m betting Eve would have been ecstatic. Because no matter how bad it would be at least she gets to live!
The same can be said for the man. In verses 17-19 we see what was to befall the man.
C. The man
Just like he did with the woman, God zeros in on the main aspect of the man’s life. His work. Life down on the farm isn’t going to be the same. It is going to be filled with toil. That is to say, it is going to involve a great deal more rigor. The ground is going to produce thorns and thistles. That’s a symbol. It means here’s going to be a lot more frustration when it comes to in putting food on the table.
But hey! At least he gets to put food on the table!
I want you to realize the waves of relieve that would have come over Adam here. God had originally said, “In the DAY you eat of that fruit you will die.” Adam should have dropped dead right on the spot! That fruit should have been the last thing he ate. But God’s saying here that He is going to grant him an extended period of life.
“Did you hear that, honey? Life’s going to be hard!” This would have been music to Adam’s ears. It’s a blessing in the midst of the curse!
The curse carries with it a bright beam of grace. Yes we see God enacting his wrath, but it is greatly restrained. And all that is said here reveals that God has something different in mind. He has chosen to bring glory to himself by establishing a new relationship with men; one based on grace.
But it is not just seen in the curses that are pronounced; this relationship is also seen in the faith that that is expressed.
II. His grace is revealed in the faith that is exhibited 
In verse 20 we see that the first thing Adam does is name his wife Eve. And what I want you to understand is a demonstration of his faith and hope in God. This act shows that Adam understands that God has not going to abandon him.
The word Eve means “life” or “life giver.” He’s already celebrating the fact that they are going to have children! “You are going to be the mother of all living.”
What do you mean? She hasn’t had a single baby yet. How does he know that? It is because he has heard the promise that God just made. He understands what God is doing. He sees that God is being gracious to him and offering him life and salvation. He sees is that God is reclaiming him.
Adam has already begun to live by faith. In his naming his wife Eve, we see that Adam trusts the promise and is living his life in light of the promise. And for the rest of their lives Eve is going to be a testament to the fact that God is a gracious God. And every time he wakes up in the morning he is going to see her there and remember that God has not dealt with me according to my sins.
The wonderful thing is that each of us may do the very same thing. The grace of God may be yours. You don’t have to live in your sins. You too can have this same grace and salvation. All you have to do is what Adam did. All you have to do is believe that the promise is true.
It is kind of like the story about the soldier who was commended by Napoleon. When Napoleon was told of the noble deed that this soldier had done he said, “Well done, Captian.” Immediately the man dropped his musket, removed the other marks of his position from his attire, and ran to the front of the ranks and stood with the head officers of the company. Bewildered that this low ranking soldier’s actions they asked him what he was doing. The man responded, “The Emperor called me captain, so I am!”
He heard the word, and so he believed and acted as if it were true.
That is what Adam did. And if you wish to be a part of this covenant of grace, that is all you have to do. Our situation is different than Adam’s, but not that much different. The Savior—the one who will crush the serpent’s head has already come and taken the penalty that was due to Adam. Jesus Christ died to atone for sin and vanquish death. But he has said he will come again. He said he will vanquish Satan completely will cast Satan into the Lake of Fire. He will put an end to Satan and all that he stands for.
And if you would like to take part in it, if you want to have this salvation, all you have to do is trust his promise.
The grace of God is available to us. It is revealed in the curses that are pronounced and the faith that is exhibited. And in the next verse you see it in the animal that is sacrificed.
III. His grace is revealed in the animal that is sacrificed 
In the next verse it says that the Lord made garments of skins for Adam and Eve and clothed them. To understand what is going on here you have to put yourselves in Adam’s fig leaf.
First, think about that. There is a reason why people don’t usually sport shrubbery. You have to be very careful sewing those leaves together. And such apparel doesn’t permit you much mobility. As you can guess, it’s going to rip rather easily.
Think about how silly he would have looked standing there before God with these make shift underwear. He tried running from God and hiding, no doubt the things started to tear. He had to look rather bad. The reality of his sin was plainly exposed.
But there was a reason why Adam had chosen to cover himself with a fig leaf. Leaves were not only readily accessible; they would not have harmed the tree from which they were taken. At this point in history, life was considered sacred. We don’t think twice about hurting an animal. But it probably would not have occurred to Adam to harm an animal for its hide. For them, death was a punishment. It was a sign of God’s anger.
And when they saw this animal’s blood being spilt upon the ground that would have sent them a message. It would have told them that their sin could not be taken care of by any easy, cheap process. As they looked at that animal’s carcass they could only admit “that should have been me.”
What happened here is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate provision for sin. If man was to live, another must die in their place.
God’s giving them these new clothes was a picture of what he would one day do in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Friends, the grace of God does not negate God’s justice. The penalty for sin still stands. But that is the glory of the gospel. There on the cross our Lord Jesus took the penalty on our behalf. And we can stand before God because he gives us the covering of his perfect blood and righteousness.
This verse is not insignificant. It reminds us that God’s dealings with us are gracious indeed. And so does the last paragraph.
We’ve seen the grace of God revealed in the curses that were pronounced. We’ve seen it in the faith that was demonstrated. We’ve seen it in the animal that was sacrificed. But, oddly enough, we also see it in the door that was shut.
IV. His grace is revealed in the door that is shut [22-24]
In verses 22 through 24 the scene comes to a close. It is something of a sad ending. No doubt it is a tragedy. Adam and Eve are forced to leave the garden. But I want you to understand that this is actually a sign of love.
God says, “Adam, you can’t live here anymore.” Why does he say that? It is because in that garden there is another tree. There was not only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but there was also the tree of life. And what if man should eat of it? What would happen? He would have forever sealed his fate. He would be condemned to his lost state for all eternity.
But God removes them from its presence. He drives them out of the garden, closes the door and locks it. He removes them from that danger because he doesn’t want anything to get in the way of his plan to bring them back.
If there was some poison in your house, you wouldn’t leave it sitting around would you? You wouldn’t want to have your child get into it and end up losing them forever, would you? Of course not. So you put it in a safe place and lock it away. And you keep your kids from coming into contact with it.
That’s exactly what the Lord does here. His removing them is sad, but it is actually a sign of his mercy. It is just another confirmation that God doesn’t want them to be lost forever.
And it is at this point that we remember that we have the pleasure of knowing the end of the story. As we leave the garden—and as we hear the latch on the door, we remember that one day the door will be thrown open again.
There will come down from heaven a New Heavens and a New Earth. And the dwelling place of God will be with men.
Some of you may be familiar with the famous painting of this scene. It is a painting of the expulsion of Adam and Eve. The couple is depicted walking out of the garden in absolute despair. They are both attempting to cover the shame of their nakedness. Eve’s head is thrown back in anguish, and her mouth is open as if crying out in anguish. Adam’s head is thrust forward and is clasped by his hand, emphasizing the extent of his sorrow and shame.
The painting is a classic and a true masterpiece as it communicates the havoc that their sin has wrought for the world. But I believe that the painting is not in the least bit accurate.
Adam and Eve did not walk out of the garden naked. And I do not think that their demeanor would have been that of absolute despair. They would have walked out fully clothed with the graces afforded them by God’s good hand. And while there is no doubt there would have been sadness at having to leave the splendor of Paradise, there would not have been complete despair. In the midst of their tears of sorrow, there no doubt would have been tears of joy and hope.
They did not receive what they truly deserved. Not by any means.
And, my friends, all this is a testimony to what is ours in Jesus Christ. God has not left us to perish in our sins. We too have the promise of grace and mercy. Though we must live for a time in the shadows of misery, we may yet still live by faith; knowing that our redemption is at hand.
I remember when I came back from college. There was a whole section of my neighborhood that was missing. About 20 houses were torn down and a parking lot was put in its place. Everything changed.
The same is true here. Everything has changed. Paradise has been leveled.
Just a few weeks ago we were giddy with delight as we talked about Adam and Eve. They were holy and happy. But not anymore. Now we see them sinful & miserable. When they bit that fruit—when they chose to disobey God, everything changed.
And though they have not been officially judged, we see them experiencing something of the birth pains of hell.
As we look at this passage this morning, I want you to notice how desperate our situation has become.
Our passage opens like a good novel. We see a fugitive on the run. And by it we see something of what sin has produced.
I. What sin has produced
Adam is experiencing something he has never felt before. It is the feeling of dread. He is absolutely terrified now of God.
Our passage begins with the sound of God’s footsteps echoing through the Garden. And that sound strikes fear in the hearts of Adam and Eve. They immediately hide.
This is radically different than what we had seen in previous chapters. Adam was created to have perfect communion with God. But now that he has sinned against him, instead of running to the Lord, he is running from Him. Instead of walking with God and enjoying the delights of pleasant conversation with Him, Adam is cowering behind some bushes.
Adam can no longer bear to look upon the face of God without the experience of terror.
It is interesting too that his fear is completely unprovoked by God. The Lord is shown to be completely fearless in this scene. It says that he was walking in the garden. He didn’t run at Adam or come upon him in any fearful way.
And he isn’t accusatory either. He asks the question, “Where are you Adam?” and it is completely innocent. It was meant to draw Adam out. It isn’t like God didn’t know where Adam was. Of course he did. It is kind of like a parent whose child is hiding behind the curtain. The parent acts like they don’t know where he is in order to draw the child out.
Though God comes to Adam in the most gentle manner, Adam runs. His conscience is stricken with guilt and he cannot bear the thought of facing God.
I remember when I was a kid. A bunch of us were playing baseball at a lot in our neighborhood. One of the boys got a hold of a pitch and took it long. To see that ball sail through the air was something glorious to behold…until it went through the window of that house at the other side of the field.
Every one of us turned white. We were immediately filled with terror. So we bolted. We all just took off because we knew the owner would be out any moment.
That’s how Adam felt. And it is the common experience of every one of us who remains in our sins.
If you have not made your amends with God, you will most certainly have this grief weighing heavily upon your conscience. To be sure, you will not always acknowledge it. You will find ways to distract yourself or push it out of your mind. But there will be times when your will feel the anxiety of a just and holy God.
People have a few of their own ideas on how this is sometimes expressed. John Calvin even went so far as to say that the most vicious God deniers are the ones who experience the terrors the most. He gave the example of one of the Roman Emperors. He was an adamant opposer of the Christ. Yet Calvin pointed out that a crack of lightening would put him wildly on edge. And Calvin expressed that the real reason his life was so frayed with fear was because deep beneath his rage against God lay a real alarm that God did exist.
My personal opinion? I believe that this is one of the main reasons many people can’t get up the gumption to come to church when they are invited. They just can’t stand the thought of coming before God. Just the thought of sitting in the Sunday morning meeting makes them queasy.
Some of you might have had the experience where just your presence has set an unbelieving person on edge. It isn’t like you did anything to make them feel that way. It’s just that they sense God’s presence and it is so unnerving.
Whatever you think of the conjectures that Calvin and I have doesn’t really matter. I know that Christ captured this with the clearest colors though. Jesus once talked about the day when he would come again. He said that on that day people will be paralyzed with fear. They will be so stricken with terror that they will run to the hills. Just like Adam sought shelter in the bushes they will try to hide themselves in caves and crevices. Jesus even said that their anxieties will be so great that they will call out to the rocks, asking that they would fall in and crush them. In other words, their guilt will cause them to be so horrified that they will actually try to hid themselves in the shadows of death.
Jesus was just reiterating what we find right here. He affirms that the face of God is a terrible thing to the sinner. And, as we see here with Adam, our fallen state is so desperate that even the brightest smiles of God can cause us great unease.
Everything has changed. But as we look at this passage you don’t just see what the sin produced. You also see how the sin progressed.
II. How Sin Progressed
When Adam saw that he could not hide, he should have come to terms with what he did. When he was found out—when it was apparent that he could not hide from God—he should have come forward and confessed his wrong.
That’s what you want from your children, isn’t it? If your kid runs and hides because he took the cookies from the cookie jar, you expect them to come out and own up to what they have done. But that’s not what Adam did. Instead of turning to God he takes one step further. And boy is it a bold step!
Look at how blazingly defiant he becomes in his sin. He says in verse 12 “This woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit and I ate!” It is bad enough that he throws his wife under the bus. Last time we saw that he told Eve to take the poison first. Now he exposes her again. God it was this woman.
But more than that. Adam is really pointing the finger at God. It is the woman you gave me. Essentially he is saying that all would have been well and fine if you hadn’t put this woman here. “What kind of helper is that? What kind of God are you that you would do this to me?”
In my house we would say, “Really? Really, Adam? Are you that demented that you will actually blame God for what you did?”
What he ends up doing is compounding his initial sin. It was bad enough that he ate the fruit, but now he is lashing out at God.
This is what we call the snowball effect of sin. Sin always has this pattern. It is never satisfied with where it is and it is never static. It always has the tendency to progress.
As you see here: It begins with defying God behind his back. Now it is emboldened. It defies God directly to his face. But that is how sin works. One sin gives birth to another. The first sin gives the strength and boldness to the second.
I like what Luther has to say here. Luther says, “This is the nature of sin: unless God immediately provides a cure and calls the sinner back, he flees endlessly from God and, by excusing his sins with lies, heaps sin upon sin until he arrives at blasphemy and despair. Thus sin, by its own gravitation, always draws with it another sin.”
That’s why I mention the sin of lust regularly from this pulpit. You know, adultery doesn’t start in the bedroom. It starts with the remote control. This is why Jesus says, “If you eye causes you to sin, gouge it out!” He is essentially saying that this little wondering eye is no innocent thing. If it is not remedied—if you don’t deal with it, it will snowball.
I was thinking about divorce the other day. Divorce is rampant today. And every one of us is susceptible to it. But you know where divorce starts. It starts with the rolling of the eyes. It starts with a cutting comment; a little sarcastic remark that was just a little more true than a joke.
My friends, I want you to realize that sin is a black hole. Adam shows us that every transgression has a downward trajectory to it. And it leads us deeper in the pit of wickedness.
Now, I think that we need to back up a bit here. I think that we need to stand back and look again at our passage. We've been looking at some of the details, but I don’t think we’ve really hit on the central point of this passage. It could be easy for us to lose the forest for the trees here. It is interesting to examine each of the things that Adam does, but we need to think about what is really going on here.
As we look at Adam here, what is he really doing? We see him running from God and accusing God. But why? What’s his motive? What is he intending to do?
Well, let’s just think in terms of our own experience. Have you ever had this happen with one of your own children? Have you ever had them squirm like this?
First they run from you and then when you call them out they won’t face up to the reality of what they did. You confront them but they won’t own up to it. They make some lame excuse. They try and blame it on the cat or something.
What are they really doing? They are trying their hardest to avoid the punishment aren’t they? In running from you they are trying to avoid having to face the consequences of their actions, aren’t they? As they make excuses they are trying to justify themselves. They are trying to say that they are innocent. They know they are guilty; they know they are liable to be punished; and they can’t bear it.
That’s what Adam is doing. He’s trying his hardest to escape the punishment that is due to him for sin.
And we know he can’t.
If you are here today, you need to know that you are in the exact same spot as Adam. You can’t run from God. Even right now some of you might be trying to avoid him. But all our efforts to run from him are vain.
My daughter Geneva, is to the point where she tries to play hide and seek. But she just doesn’t get it yet. She hides by covering her eyes. She thinks that if she can’t see you, you can’t see her. And I think that’s how a lot of people are. They put God out of their minds, they say if I don’t think of him, then he can’t see me.
That’s foolishness though.
And there will come a day where we will stand before him. We will be called before the bar of Judgment, and on that day there will be nothing we can do to justify ourselves. No amount of excuses will have any avail with him.
The only way we can escape is through the means God has provided.
There is that story in the gospel of John that is something of a parallel to our story here. It is the story of when Jesus when was in the Garden. He was confronted there. A band of men came seeking him. They came out to arrest him and take him to his death.
You know what is interesting about that story? Jesus never tried to run. He never tried to dodge them. As a matter of fact, he stepped right up to them and introduced himself. “Who is it you seek?...I am He.”
What we see there is something of a replay of the Garden of Eden. That story is presenting to us the Second Adam. The Greater Adam. Adam tried to lay the blame on God. But in that story we see that God takes the blame upon himself. Jesus is presented as the innocent one who willingly gives himself over to death.
That passage in John is the counter to the passage before us this morning. It is there to say that we have a way of avoiding God’s wrath and curse. There is one who is able to remove our guilt. It is the one who stood in our place, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So when it comes to dealing with your guilt, you should know the way to deal with it is not by running from God or pointing your finger at Him. But instead the way to deal with it is by resting in the one He sent to be your redeemer.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.